Written By: Sam Carter
AUSTELL, Ga. – In its opening match of the 2023 USL W League season, South Georgia Tormenta FC drew 0-0 against Southern Soccer Academy. The reigning USL W League champion, captained by returning defender Jhenesis Ellerbe, impressed defensively en route to an opening night point.
“The game today, probably exactly what we thought we would see. You got a group of players who are good individually that are trying to figure things out collectively. You got up to 20 players here and got 18 players that play at different programs all trying to get on the field within ten days of arriving to Statesboro and trying to put together a cohesive tight possession game.”Jim Robbins, Tormenta FC’s USL W League Head Coach
In the first half, the sides traded chances at both ends of the pitch with neither finding the back of the net. Defender Peyton Chick had Tormenta FC’s closest chance on a direct free kick that landed in the SSA goalkeeper’s hands. Tormenta FC found success late in the first half finding forward Tess Werts down the left-wing channel. Just before the half, TFC goalkeeper Cora Brendle was called into action to make her first big save of the match at close range to keep the score deadlocked going into halftime.
Anika Elias and Gemma Jefferson substituted in place of Alyssa Abbondandolo and Sade Heinrichs to begin the second half of play. Kiana Jacobson also entered in place of Celine Ottah, who picked up a knock at the end of the first half. The Tormenta FC defense continued to hold firm against SSA’s offensive passages and countered the advanced SSA. In the final minutes of play, Brendle again collected an SSA effort off of a set piece to keep the sides level.
Brendle recorded an impressive outing between the sticks, making several clinical saves to earn her first clean sheet. Werts routinely paced the left flank, with her counterpart Kaylie Chambers finding space to press forward on the right.
To note, for the second straight year, Tormenta opens the regular season with a 0-0 draw.
“So I think those are things that we’re going to focus on. In terms of team attitude, I think we’re in a great place and it’s going to be great to get home, you know, play at home on Friday, play in front of our supporters, bring a cup out there, hopefully pop it up in the stands somewhere and we can go get three points in that game and get ourselves on track.”Jim Robbins, Tormenta FC’s USL W League Head Coach
Next up this week, Tormenta plays host to Birmingham Legion FC at Optim Sports Medicine Field at Tormenta Stadium. Kickoff is set for Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET.
In June of 2021, Tormenta FC was named a founding member of the USL W League, an elite pre-professional pathway for women looking to build their careers both on and off the pitch. Tormenta FC won its first-ever USL W League title in 2022 after defeating the Minnesota Aurora in front of 6,500 fans in Eagan, Minnesota.
Tormenta FC provides opportunities to local and national players to develop and start their professional careers in Statesboro, Georgia. In just one year, Tormenta FC’s USL W League team has produced six professional players with Sydney Martinez joining Jenae Packard, Emily Burke, Kelly Giddes, Abigail Wolf and Jodi Medina as the latest player to sign a contract in Europe.
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